Snowmass lodges sell for $14M; Challenge Aspen eyes one |

Snowmass lodges sell for $14M; Challenge Aspen eyes one

The Snowmass Mountain Chalet and the Snowmass Inn sold for a combined $14 million last week. Challenge Aspen is eyeing the possible purchase of the chalet from the new owner, who is a member of the nonprofit’s national council.
David Krause/The Aspen Times

A limited liability company controlled by a member of the national council for Challenge Aspen has acquired two slopeside lodges in Snowmass Village for a combined $14 million with the intent to sell one of them to the nonprofit in the future.

Challenge Aspen CEO Jeff Hauser confirmed Friday the nonprofit is working with the new owner, which is called CA Loan I LLC, to possibly buy the 64-room Snowmass Mountain Chalet.

The 37,747-square-foot hotel, which is located next to the Fanny Hill run, would be used as both a lodge and Challenge Aspen’s home office, Hauser said. The organization’s current headquarters are in the village and located near the lodge.

Also included in the purchase, which was recorded April 20 by the Pitkin County Clerk and Recorder’s Office, was the smaller 9,360-square-foot Snowmass Inn, located down Fanny Hill from the chalet.

Hauser said Challenge Aspen — which works with disabled people to enjoy outdoor recreation — is not interested in buying that property, which is run by the same hotel operations company.

“We’ve had it in our strategic plan for a couple of years now to see if we could acquire some housing for our participants when they come here for various retreats and camps,” he said. “We’ve got a multitude of uses for commercial lodging as a recruitment tool for new employees, and as a way to house our veterans and guests.”

The seller of the two properties were two LLCs controlled by New York-based The Related Companies, which sold Base Village in Snowmass to the Crown family, which owns Aspen Skiing Co., and KSL and East-West Partners in December 2016.

Related officials did not return messages last week, and an employee at the lodge and inn, both of which are closed because of public-health orders related to the pandemic, declined comment.

“Those properties had been for sale for a while,” Hauser said, “and we have been so fortunate that the buyer is a friend of the organization.

“He stepped up and made this purchase of the hotel and that gives us some time to figure out how we might acquire the Mountain Chalet from him, and it’s a huge step forward. Now we’ve got figure out how to make it work.”

A capital fundraising campaign is one of multiple approaches the organization is considering in advance of a possible purchase, Hauser said.

“There are many steps that have to happen,” he said. “Hopefully we can pull this together and make it happen. It’s not a given and that is why I’m being a little bit vague.”

Challenge Aspen has partnered with the chalet over the years to house guests, and the deal would make a lot of sense for the organization, Hauser said.

The nonprofit was one of the first local organizations to be affected by the coronavirus when on March 4 the National Disabled Veterans Winter Sports Clinic was canceled by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. That was before Aspen and Colorado had declared a state of emergency. The organization now has a multitude of online offerings to keep its member base engaged.

“We decided, let’s not waste a good crisis,” Hauser said. “Now is the time to be really innovative.”

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